EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Coming into Sunday's game, the New York Jets liked the matchup of Chris Ivory, a bruising running back, going against the depleted interior of the New England Patriots' defensive line.
A career-high 34 carries and 104 yards later, Ivory certainly made the most of that matchup.
Ivory had his best game as a Jet as they handed off to him repeatedly in the Jets' 30-27 overtime win over the Patriots on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Ivory received the majority of the carries while Bilal Powell, who has been the primary back, had just three touches. Powell has been dealing with a neck injury, but Jets coach Rex Ryan did not make it seem like the injury was the reason for his decrease in carries.
"Bilal only carried three times but Ivory had the hot hand and we fed him," Ryan said. "We rode Ivory a little more than normal, but it was just a good game."
Ivory, acquired for a fourth-round draft pick in the offseason, had been a disappointment up until Sunday's game as he never had been able to get it going. A hamstring injury caused him to miss a game, and he hadn't topped 52 yards in the first six games of the season. In his previous two games, he rushed a combined eight times for 43 yards, barely seeing the field.
"I'm happy. Even before today I was happy," Ivory said. "I don't think this game had any effect on me to where I say, 'This is what I've been looking for.' I just want to win."
On Sunday, the Jets finally implemented Ivory to resounding success. While he didn't do anything particularly flashy, breaking off a long run of just 17 yards, he was able to consistently pick up small yards. He primarily did his work inside the tackles, as the Patriots were down a pair of defensive tackles. He eventually started working outside the hashes as the game progressed.
"They didn't tell me anything. I just knew I was in the game, and I played my role," Ivory said. "[A lot of carries] helps get in a rhythm and just get more of a feel for the scheme and running lanes."
Ivory's most impressive work came in overtime as the Jets asked him to be their closer, and he delivered. The Jets handed the ball to Ivory nine times and he rushed for 23 yards in overtime.
Ivory had a stretch of four plays in overtime that were particularly important as he put the Jets into New England territory. Starting with a third-and-one at the Jets' 45, Ivory ran for three yards, and then followed it up with runs for eight, three and one to get the Jets to the Patriots' 40.
Ivory's 100-yard game was his first as a Jet and the fourth of his career. It was also his first since 2012.
"I think that's what [offensive coordinator] Marty Mornhinweg wanted to do, had his confidence in me and felt like that's what we needed for the last drive," Ivory said. "Got close enough to field goal range and sealed the game."